Be Your Own Cheerleader

You have to show up every day for YOU.

Because the thing is, you can only fill everyone else’s cup for so long until yours runs dry.

My whole life I stayed busy, playing every sport and joining every club. In high school I was a cheerleader, both at school and competitively, same with soccer, co-editor of the yearbook, an officer on student council, and in about 10 clubs. Literally.

In college I essentially took all those extra-curricular hours and channeled them into my journalism career. I started working at The Kansan as a freshman and worked my way up to digital managing editor my senior year, taking 15 hours of class and working 30+ hours a week. Somehow managing to find time to party far too much in between there, too.

You see? Busy was my game.

Then my back injury slowed me down. (I had two herniated discs and wrote about it a while back, you can read it here). My mental health was in a poor state and I was finally coming to terms with the fact I couldn’t out-busy my struggles anymore. I had to face what was going on inside before I could ever truly move forward.

My healing process hasn’t been linear, either. Back surgery helped, but my pain was still there and it was just so hard to get back on track. I’d been an athlete my whole life, how was I supposed to get back to the gym after being off for 5 years?

I started going to therapy about a month after my surgery and that is where my healing and self-awareness and acceptance journey really began.

After a few years of working on my mental health and pretty much neglecting my physical health, I was diagnosed with a skin disease called hidradenitis suppurativa, or HS for short. It resides within the autoimmune/auto-inflammatory disease family and has no cure. The only FDA-approved medicine is a weekly immunosuppressant injection, and even then the success rate is only 50%.

Needless to say, my world. was. rocked.

I decided enough was enough. I’d been working on my mental health for years, it’s time I put my physical health as a priority, too. Enter hours upon hours of self research and learning all there is to know about autoimmune diseases and holistic ways of healing.

The biggest contender and most common answer? Diet.

Following a whole foods diet, focused on eating anti-inflammatory foods, healing the gut. That is what all the other people with HS said helped put them in remission.

So, I embarked on my AIP, or auto-immune protocol, journey and started to eliminate all the unhealthy things from my life, literally and figuratively.

No gluten, no dairy, no alcohol, no sugar. No artificial ingredients in my skin care.

You know what that leaves you with? Meat and vegetables and slowly but surely purging just about everything you already own. I was reading labels like it was my profession and learning so much.

It was overwhelming at times, discouraging at times, frustrating. I felt left out. I felt deprived. I would freeze up when it was my time to order at restaurants because I felt like I couldn’t safely order anything. That’s where the mindset came back into play.

Gratitude is a beautiful thing and practicing it has helped me heal in more ways than I can express in this singular blog. I remember struggling for months, wanting to give up, thinking my disease was never going away. Until one night at the gym, I realized I’d been on the elliptical for 54 minutes without stopping.

Sister, say what!?? That is crazy talk!

I started crying. Right then and there, because in that moment I realized, “This is exactly what I was praying for every night before my back surgery. All I wanted was to feel alive again. To move my body and enjoy it. To feel strong.”

And boy do I feel as alive and strong as EVER, y’all! My progress isn’t linear because thats just it, it never is. Life is all about the ebbs and flows and exchanges of energy. I needed to get knocked down, to realize all the power I had within me, to come out even stronger.

I’m powerful.

I’m a warrior.

I will overcome.

I am a force to be reckoned with.

For too many years, I’d been filling up everyone else’s cup. Cheering them on throughout their battles, helping them get over their latest struggle. You called? I answered and picked you up with a snack and an ear ready to listen.

I’m still that friend. But now, I’m that friend for me, too.

I listen to my needs and sit with my feelings. I let myself feel valid and process whatever I’m going through. Then? I tell myself to get up, get dressed, and face that bad boy head on.

Because I’m unstoppable.

I’ve overcome so much in my life and I’m only 27 years old. For too many years, I stayed busy to avoid my feelings. I stayed busy to avoid what was going on inside my head. I listened and helped people with their problems to avoid my own.

It’s super fun giving out advice until it’s time you took your own, right?

This past year has been nothing short of incredible. I’ve lost 80+ pounds, gained control of my bad habits and have incorporated newer, healthier, more sustainable ones. I’ve grown in ways I didn’t think was possible, especially in only a year’s time.

My biggest success thus far? Learning to be my own cheerleader.

Pumping myself up when I need it, convincing myself that the scrambled egg and avocado is better for me than the honey butter chicken biscuit, no matter how bad I think I want it. And then celebrating those choices that lead to even better choices.

Building upon these healthy habits to feel better, it’s an amazing journey. A lot of the time, I still can’t believe I’ve made it this far. There were so many days I wanted to give up, sometimes I still struggle with, “Is the work worth it?”

But that’s just it, of COURSE it’s worth it! You deserve happiness, you deserve joy, you deserve health and success. Yes, you do!

And I do, too.

xoxo,

HB

Put Yourself First

That’s truly what it boils down to: We need to put ourselves first in order to live our best lives. I know, I know, hear me out…

Who/what are you putting the most attention and energy toward? Your friends? Spouse? Kids? Parents? Do you wake up each morning and immediately think of their needs, but never seem to give a minute to yourself to address your own?

I know it’s hard. As a helper by nature, I’ve always wanted to help others, make them feel heard and seen and cared for. But we must first put ourselves as #1 priority, in order to share abundantly with our loved ones.

Personally, I’ve realized over the years (thank you, therapy) I was pouring too much love into others and not enough love into myself. I cared about their happiness first and foremost, and would sacrifice my own just to please them. NOT a healthy way to live, long-term.

If we don’t deal with our own demons, if we don’t take a minute to re-evaluate our true desires and needs in life, then we’ll never be able to be fully expressive. We’ll always feel repressed in some form or fashion.

My autoimmune diagnosis last summer was my wake up call. Enough was enough, Hannah had to put Hannah first. So I did, I have, and I do every day.

I read more, I write more, I pray more. I live intentionally.

You know what it’s brought me? Stronger relationships. More manifested encounters. A better work ethic. Not to mention, I have my health back.

Crazy what putting yourself first just might do for you. Why don’t you give it a try?

xoxo,

HB

What’s in your health&wellness tool belt!?

You’ve heard of the ketogenic (keto) diet by now, I’m sure, and also have probably seen multiple think pieces or opinion articles on why it’s great for you or how it’s the worst diet of the decade (LOL personal experience really denying this one).

People are sharing their testimonies on losing 100+ pounds on keto, posting before-and-after photos that are honestly mind blowing.

Truth bomb: When I first heard of the keto diet, I didn’t think it was very sustainable. I was afraid of what would happen to my body when I stopped fueling it with what it’d been used to for YEARS, and started eating a higher fat content than ever before.

But, I kept seeing other people’s successes, and decided I wanted IN. And while I eat more of a low-carb than a true keto diet, simply because I don’t track my macros, I’ve reaped an insaaaane amount of benefits in the short months I’ve been on this path.

Left: June 2019; Right: Jan. 2020

Drinking exogenous ketones has played a huge role in my success. I truly don’t think I’d be where I am today without them, which is exactly why I’m telling the whole world allll about them!

I mean, look at my personal transformation…

Left: Nov. 2018; Right: Jan. 2020

Liiiike, 60 pounds less and feeling like a new person transformation!

Hit me with the facts, Hannah!

Pure therapeutic ketones are D-BHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) isomer ketone salts that are bio-identical to what your liver produces when you’re in a state of nutritional ketosis. Typically, ketones are very hard to produce naturally in the beginning stages of the ketogenic diet and production differs for each individual. Even keto-adapted individuals may find it hard to circulate high levels of ketones in the blood.

Exogenous ketones are a powder supplement that you add to 16oz of water and drink within 15 min of mixing. They put you into a state of ketosis in under 1 hour.

*Exogenous = outside of the body, while endogenous = what your liver naturally produces*

Why would you want to be in ketosis?

D-isomer BHB has been shown to decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin. Less appetite = less cravings/unhealthy choices = weight loss. Ketones are neuroprotective and higher circulating ketones calm neurons in your brain.

Ketones have been shown to increase endurance in aerobic activity.

Ketones are also anti-inflammatory, leading to less bloat & better gut health.

Additionally, C-med 100 is the only peer-reviewed supplement shown to aide in DNA repair and help immune function. (Since my HS diagnosis last summer, any immune help I can give myself is huge).

Lastly, why KETO//OS Nat over other ketone products?

Prüvit holds the only multipatented exogenous ketone on the market.

NAT ketones are the only naturally fermented pure and bio-identical ketones.

Other ketones are “racemic” aka mixed isomer ketones. Those ketones are not identical to what your body produces and can actually end up damaging the ketone receptors.

Think of trying to jam a key (ketone) into a lock (receptor) that isn’t compatible.

Everyone gets to reap the benefits of ketosis, even if you don’t want to eat keto!

You don’t have to eat keto. That’s the best part. These exogenous ketones were created so that everyone can benefit from ketosis without the strictness of a true ketogenic diet.

This was actually a big reason why I finally took the leap to try them – I’m your average woman, who has had her fair share of body image issues, eating disorders, emotional attachment to food, you name it. So when I decided it was time to take my health back into my own hands, I got nervous, because putting myself in any sort of “box” aka “diet”, meant restriction. Meant deprivation. Meant sacrifice. Meant the possibility of bad eating habits and overall nutritional health.

*Remember* that these are just one tool in my health&wellness tool belt, though. I still take daily walks, drink an insane amount of water, eat whole foods, don’t eat gluten or dairy (because of my autoimmune disease), etc. But these are by FAR the MOST IMPORTANT tool I’ve yet to find, and I don’t think it gets better.

Want to join me on the pursuit to B E T T E R? Message me!

xoxo,

HB